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Africans stars to watch in Europe this weekend

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Arsenal/Ghana midfield star, Thomas Partey (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The European football season is gathering momentum as all the leagues have kicked off in earnest.

A lot of African soccer stars who are scattered all over Europe will be in action this weekend for their respective clubs around the world and Africanewswatch takes a look at some of the continent’s stars as they take to the pitch to show the stuff they are made of.

English Premier League

Thomas Partey – Arsenal and Ghana

Ghanaian vice captain, Thomas Partey and his Arsenal team mates travel to Bournemouth in their third game of the 2022-23 EPL season hoping to maintain their perfect start to the season.

Partey has been in imperious form for the Gunners, leading to the team’s impressive start to the campaign while orchestrating proceedings for Mikel Arteta’s men in the middle of the park.

Partey is expected to once again pull the strings from the deep while protecting the Gunners back four at the Vitality Stadium.

Mohamed Salah – Liverpool and Egypt

Liverpool may have had an indifferent start to the new season which has seen them four points adrift of Manchester City and Arsenal but a strong performance against out of sorts and beleaguered Manchester United promises to be the turning point for Egypt’s captain, Mohamed Salah and his Reds teammates.

Man U is there for the taking and with
Salah leading Liverpool’s attack against Erik Ten Hag’s men who have been in awful form coming from the end of last season, the Pharaoh could be snacking his lips in great anticipation.

Last season, Salah took the Red Devils to the cleaners with a hat trick in a 5-0 annihilation of their fierce rivals and with Man U not able to produce any performance of note, it remains to be seen how they will manage to stop Salah and company.

Yves Bissouma – Tottenham and Mali

Mali midfielder Yves Bissouma has had to start life at new club Tottenham Hotspur from the bench as he has had two substitute appearances in both Premier League games for Hotspur, but if his performances so far is anything to judge by, then he could be on from the start when Wolverhampton Wanderers visit the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Bissouma was a thorn in the flesh of Chelsea players in Spurs’ 2-2 draw at the Stamford Bridge last Sunday and coach Antonio Conte could line him up for his first start against Bruno Lage’s team.

Alex Iwobi – Everton and Nigeria; Taiwo Awoniyi, Emmanuel Dennis – Nottingham Forest and Nigeria

The clash between Everton who have remained winless and pointless in two matches, and EPL new comers, Nottingham Forest, is likely to pitch three Nigerian stars against each other.

While Frank Lampard is likely to field Alex Iwobi for Everton, Taiwo Awoniyi and his international teammate, Emmanuel Dennis, would be on the opposite side at the Merseyside.

Coming from making Forests history by scoring the team’s first EPL goal in 23 years, Awoniyi would be looking to consolidate on his fine start to the season while Dennis would be hoping to continue his goal rush after netting 10 for relegated Watford last season if he gets to play.

Joe Aribo – Southampton and Nigeria; Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho- Leicester and Nigeria

Another clash which will pitch Nigerian stars against each other will be at the King Power Stadium where the duo of Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City welcome Joe Aribo and his Southampton teammates.

Last weekend, Aribo played a vital role in the Saints 2-2 draw with Leeds United, scoring a goal as Southampton came back from 2-0 down to square up.

The former Rangers of Scotland midfielder is likely to be retained by Ralph Hasenhuttl forSaturday’s trip to Leicester City while Ndidi who made his first start in the 4-2 demolition by Arsenal, is likely to get a start following his performance at the Emirate Stadium.

Iheanacho will hope that his performance in the 4-2 defeat where he assisted James Maddison’s goal will be enough to convince manager Brendan Rodgers to involve him in the match.

Spanish La Liga

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Barcelona and Gabon; Frank Kessie – Ivory Coast

Thecm former Gabonese captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came off the bench in Barcelona’s first game of the season which ended in a disappointing stalemate with Rayo Vallecano, while Ivorian midfielder, Frank Kessie did not make an appearance as Barca had not registered him prior to the kick off of the season.

With his future in the club still shrouded in uncertainty, Aubameyang could still be in line for a start while Kessie may start from the bench for Sunday’s game in San Sebastian.

Barca have won the last three games between the clubs, claiming 1-0 and 6-1 victories on the road in that run, with Aubameyang netting the only goal in April’s meeting.

Samuel Chukwueze – Villareal

Nigerian winger, Samuel Chukwueze and his Villarreal teammates travel to Atletico Madrid looking to secure a positive result after their 3-0 defeat over Real Valladolid in their first match of the season.

Chukwueze made his bow when he was introduced with 30 minutes to play and it is likely he may start from the bench again at Wanda Metropolitano.

Italian Serie A

Victor Osimhen – Napoli and Nigeria

Victor Osimhen scored and made one assist as Napoli defeated Hellas Verona 3-0 in the first game of the season.

The Super Eagles marksman will be a handful for newly promoted Monza on Sunday as Luciano Spalletti’s men look to give the likes of Inter Milan and AC Milan an early run.

Having started the new campaign in fine form, the Eagles attacker will back himself to put the new boys to the sword.

French Ligue 1

Moses Simon – Nantes and Nigeria

Moses Simon and his Nantes team are unbeaten after two games this season, and will look to consolidate in their fine start to the 2022-23 season.

The Nigerian winger has already opened his goal account for the season and as Nantes travel to Olympique Marseille, he will be looking forward to giving another performance to claim their first victory of the season.

Achraf Hakimi – PSG and Morocco

Moroccan wing-back, Achraf Hakimi and his Paris Saint-Germain teammates will be hoping to pick up all three points when they host Lille on Sunday with manager Christophe Galtier aiming to go past his former club.

Hakimi has had a strong start to the season playing in the first two matches and will hope to continue in such spectacular fashion on Sunday.

German Bundesliga

Sadio Mane – Bayern Munich and Senegal

Former Liverpool frontman, Sadio Mane may have had a below par performance by his standards in when he failed to find the back of the net in
Bayern Munich’s 2-0 success over Wolfsburg last weekend.

But the Senegal striker will be out to redeem himself when Bayern play struggling Bochum on Sunday to atone for his miss in the Wolfsburg match where he missed a sitter in front of a gaping net.

Sports

Too Good, Too Bad: How African stars performed in Europe last weekend

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With the return of football after the international break, African stars plying their trade in Europe returned to action for their clubs with bags of mixed results.

Some picked up where they stopped and gave man of the match performances while others could not live up to their high expectations.

Arsenal’s Ghanaian midfielder, Thomas Partey stood out of the bunch when the Gunners took on North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur where he scored a beautiful screamer to put the league leaders ahead.

Partey scored a screamer against Spurs (Photo Credit: Arsenal FC)

Partey scored a screamer against Spurs (Photo Credit: Arsenal FC)

Nigerian star, Alex Iwobi once again, showed Everton fans that his season is no flash in the pan as he was instrumental to Frank Lampard’s men coming back from one goal down to defeat Southampton 2-1.

Apart from action in the EPL, African players were also in action in top European leagues like the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, Dutch Eredivisie, and the Ligue 1.

Africannewswatch brings you review of some of the good and the bad of African players in Europe last weekend.

Too Good

Thomas Partey – Arsenal

Ghana international, Thomas Partey was the cynosure of all eyes when he returned to action at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal took on their eternal rivals, Tottenham, in a North London derby on Saturday which saw the Gunners thrash the Whites 3-1.

The 29-year-old was on hand to give the Gunners the lead when he curled home an effort from 25 yards which whizzed past Hugo Lloris to nestle in the top corner.

Further goals by Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka sandwiched Harry Kane penalty goal which had cancelled out Partey’s opener, ensuring Arsenal claimed the derby bragging rights.

Interestingly, Arsenal have won every match Partey has featured in this season and his injury-induced absence was felt as Arsenal suffered their only defeat of the season, a 3-1 against Manchester United.

Alex Iwobi – Everton

Nigerian midfield star, Alex Iwobi picked up where he stopped before the international break when he put up another man of the match performance as Everton ran out deserved 2-1 winners away to Southampton.

The Arsenal youth product who scored against Algeria in an international friendly, had his third assist of the season as he had a hand in Everton’s winning the goal scored by Dwight McNeil.

Sadio Mane – Bayern Munich

Sadio Mané ended his goal drought for Bayern Munich in the 4-0 drubbing of Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, after going over six matches without a goal.

The Teranga Lion’s vice captain grabbed the third goal, his fourth in the league, in the one sided match after Leroy Sane and Jamel Musiala had put the Bavarians in front.

The win also ended Bayern’s four match winless run in the Bundesliga.

Inaki Williams was in superb form for Atletico Bilbao(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Inaki Williams was in superb form for Atletico Bilbao(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Inaki Williams – Athletic Bilbao

New Ghana international, Inaki Williams who made his international debut against Brazil during the international break, returned to his club with a goal and an assist Athletic Bilbao defeated UD Almeria 4-0 in a La Liga match on Saturday.

The 28-year-old former Spain youth international celebrated his international call up with the opening goal for Bilbao after he was set up by his brother, Nico Williams, who also set up Oihan Sancet to double Bilbao’s lead.

Inaki then turned provider with a clever assist to brother Nico, who scored the third.

Ademola Lookman – Atalanta

In the Italian Serie A, Nigerian winger, Ademola Lookman was the hero for Atalanta as the pipped Fiorentina 1-0 on m Sunday.

The Nigerian international returned to action after the Algerian friendlies and got the only goal on the hour mark at the Gewiss Stadium, beating Fiorentina goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano with a simple tap in off an assist by Luis Muriel.

Ademola Lookman was the difference for Atalanta (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Ademola Lookman was the difference for Atalanta (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The goal was Lookman’s second Serie A goal of the 2022-23 campaign.

Too Bad

Taiwo Awoniyi, Emmanuel Dennis – Nottingham Forest

The duo of Taiwo Awoniyi and Emmanuel Dennis were at the receiving end when Nottingham Forest suffered a 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Leicester City who grounded out their first EPL win of the season on Monday.

While Awoniyi was on from the start and hit the woodwork in the first half, Dennis was a second half substitute but even his presence could not change The Reds fortunes as they suffered their fifth straight defeat.

Mohammed Kudus – Ajax

Ghana international, Mohammed Kudus could not replicate the form that saw him scoring in three straight Eredivisie matches, as he failed to extend that run of as Go Ahead Eagles held Ajax to a surprise 1-1 draw at home at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Saturday.

Kudus who started from the bench, was brought on by coach Alfred Schreuder for Ghana-eligible Brian Brobbey with seven minutes left on the clock and could not find the target.

Ghana and Agax midfielder, Mohammed Kudus (Photo Credit: Ajax FC)

Ghana and Agax midfielder, Mohammed Kudus (Photo Credit: Ajax FC)

Prior to the fixture, he had scored against Cambuur in a 4-0 win, Heerenveen in the 5-0 victory and the 2-1 defeat against AZ Alkmaar. In between the league matches, he was on target against Rangers and Liverpool in the Champions League.

Samuel Chukwueze – Villarreal

Nigerian winger, Samuel Chukwueze was quite disappointing as Villarreal were held to a 0-0 draw by Cardiz at the Nuevo Mirandilla Stadium where his La Liga goal drought in the 2022-23 La Liga campaign continued.

Chukwueze who was left in the bench for 83 minutes was brought on for his seventh league match of the season as a replacement for Nicolas Jackson, but he put every foot wrong and could not add any impact for the Yellow Submarines .

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Sports

CAF strips Guinea of 2025 AFCON hosting rights over insecurity

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Troubled West African country, Guinea, has been stripped of the 2025 African Nations Cup (AFCON) hosting rights by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), over insecurity fears and the country’s inability to assure the football governing body it can upgrade its facilities in time for the tournament.

CAF President Patrice Motsepe, who made the announcement on Saturday after a visit to Conakry where he held meetings with military leader, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, said the decision to take away the hosting rights from Guinea was taken way back in July.

Motsepe also said CAF will call for fresh bids because “Guinea will not be ready to host the event in 2025”, with the assurance that a “fair and consistent” process in the race to replace Guinea as hosts of the 2025 African Cup of Nations will be followed.

Back in March, Doumbouya had appointed a new organising committee after removing the one inaugurated by the regime he overthrew and issued a decree declaring the organisation of the 2025 CAN “of national interest and priority”.

Following rumours in August that the hosting rights may be taken away from Guinea, former Nigerian Football Federation boss, Amaju Pinnick, had hinted that Nigeria would bid to host the competition.

Meanwhile, Algeria, Senegal and Morocco have already indicted their intentions to bid for the 2025 AFCON tournament.

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